Imitation and inspiration in 'Roman' archery

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Roman armies first experienced massed horse-archery during campaigns in the Levant during the 1st century BC. From then on, until the 5th century AD, Roman military archery was culturally dominated by the Mesopotamian-Iranian tradition. Not only did eastern archers dominate Roman formations of sagittarii, but oriental equipment forms permeated Roman usage. Roman armies evolved methods both to successfully counter eastern archer forces and to deploy archery to best advantage against western enemies. From the 4th century they came increasingly under Asiatic steppe nomad influence. This and northern European Iron Age archery traditions are also examined. Consummate Roman skills in archery came to be advertised most vividly on military gravestones. This whole process represents one of the clearest examples of Roman military imitation, but also of inspiration leading to development of a ‘Roman’ archery culture within the empire.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationImitation and Inspiration. Proceedings of the 18th International Roman Military Equipment Conference held in Copenhagen, Denmark, 9th-14th June 2013
EditorsXenia Pauli Jensen, Thomas Grane
PublisherThe Armatura Press
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9781910238103
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2016

Publication series

NameJournal of Roman Military Equipment Studies


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